Lighter Butterscotch Bars, for Grandpa

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I was out for a run on the trail the other day when I came up behind an older gentleman wearing a shiny blue baseball jacket and ball cap, strolling, as many men his age do, with both hands clasped together behind his back.

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He heard me coming (my gasping for air was hard to miss…) and turned to acknowledge me with a gentle smile, and a polite tip of his cap. I returned the gesture then melted a little inside thinking about what a precious Grandpa he probably is to some cute family.

As I continued on I couldn’t help but think about my own Grandpa, on my Mom’s side. (My Dad’s Dad died before I was born.) He passed away almost 10 years ago, and while I pray for him every night, it had been a long time since I really thought about him.

About how he never left the house without a sharp-looking newsboy cap fitted tightly to his head.

The sound of his laugh when he really got going – ah-TEE-HEE-HEE-HEE! – accompanied by a hearty knee slap. (Holy. Chubby. Child.)

How he called me Kristianna.

How encouraging he was with his grandchildren as we hammered and played in the woodworking shop in his basement when we came to visit.

The sliced banana floating in skim milk that he had every single morning for breakfast.

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The way he knew how to fix anything, and everything.

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How he waited in line at the Hallmark store every December to get me, his only granddaughter, the collector Barbie ornament he knew I loved to open on Christmas morning.

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And “his chair” in the corner of the living room, with a bowl full of butterscotch candies sitting on the end table next to it.

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Never in my 19 years of knowing my Grandpa did he ever fill that bowl with anything but rich, sweet, butterscotch candies.

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Not peppermint, cherry, cinnamon, or orange. All butterscotch, all the time.

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It was this trip down memory lane that had me itching to make a connection with him.

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A culinary connection (minus the calamity!)

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With, what else…

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Butterscotch. :)

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Lighter Butterscotch Bars, to be exact! Lighter Butterscotch Bars feature a crumbly oatmeal crust made with less sugar and fat than traditional butterscotch bars, topped with a creamy layer made from fat-free sweetened condensed milk, and a modest amount of sweet butterscotch chips.

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Crunchy, chopped pecans dot the top.

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Then reserved oatmeal crust goes on streusel-style, before the bars are baked, cooled, sliced, and served.

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I know my Grandpa would have adored these. :)

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Lighter Butterscotch Bars

Print this recipe!

Makes 36 bars (148 calories, 5g fat/per bar)

From Cooking Light

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
9oz flour (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (can use old-fashioned oats)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (can use walnuts)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in vanilla and egg, then set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Add to butter and sugar mixture, then combine with a fork until crumbly.
  3. Place 3 cups of the oat mixture into the bottom of a non-stick sprayed 9×13″ baking dish. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan, then set it, and remaining oat mixture aside.
  4. Combine sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch chips, and salt together in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour over the crust, then spread to cover evenly. Sprinkle pecans on top, then add remaining oat mixture on top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Place on a cooling rack and run a knife around the outside edges. Cool completely, then slice and serve.

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How do I even begin to describe the dense lusciousness of a Lighter Butterscotch Bar?!

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Ultra decadent tasting, with a creamy, chewy inside, and a crispy, crunchy outside – all for just 148 calories a bar. Totally unreal.

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That signature, caramely, butterscotch flavor takes me right back to sitting on my Grandpa’s lap, unwrapping a candy or two with him. Sigh!

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Thanks for letting me reminisce – he really was special! Off to go sob for a little while! ;)

~~~~~

What did/do you love or remember most about your Grandpa?

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Comments

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  1. Kelsey 05.09.2012

    such a sweet post, and the bars look delicious! My grandpa always wore one of those hats too–it brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. He would always have a twinkle in his eye and wink and me whenever he told a joke–always laughing and smiling and making others do the same, that’s what I remember best about him!

  2. Shelly 05.09.2012

    Oh, that picture of the two of you hugging with your eyes scrunched tightly closed melts my heart. I miss my grandpa so much. He wore those polo shirts with the penguins embroidered on the pocket and when I saw recently that brand is coming back into style, my heart clenched a little bit.

  3. Lindsey 05.09.2012

    I used to have sleepovers at my grandparents and always slept in my grandpa’s room, he would tell me story of mini elves that came out to play after I fell asleep, and how they;d dance on the covers and hide treats for me. Every morning I would wake to to look for the treats and sure enough always find something :)

  4. Jane 05.09.2012

    So sweet! My Grandpa always had werther’s candies in a bowl! He always dressed so nicely, khaki pants or shorts, with a striped polo shirt-tucked in with a belt of course. And he would slick his white hair back and used some hair cream to hold it! He took care of my Grandma who lost her leg for many many years. He never complained and loved her so much. Our family took care of him til the end, miss his stories, miss him….

  5. Daniela 05.09.2012

    I just lost my grandpa in December and this post brought tears to my eyes. I miss my grandpa’s patience and sweet smile, and how he would watch any moiei I wanted with me, ever and not complain. He just wanted to spend some time with his grandchildren. Thank you for your sweet post, it was so nice to reminisce.

  6. Daniela 05.09.2012

    Movie not moiei!

  7. nicky 05.09.2012

    My grandpa spoke Dutch mixed with English. To this day, I remember him smoking his pipe while I sat on the back of his chair. I don’t like the smell of cigarettes or cigars but still love the smell of a pipe. Thank you for reminding me of my grandpa today.

  8. Mandy 05.09.2012

    I love your family photos. What a kind looking man!

    My grandpa was a farmer who built his own house, boat, garden, etc. He also had a wicked sense of humor, and loved to tease! I miss him all the time.

    And I HAVE to try those bars!!!

  9. Such a touching an sincere post. Thanks for sharing. And those bars look wonderful! I love butterscotch.

  10. Florence 05.09.2012

    I just about cried reading this because I could feel how much you loved your grandfather, and it made me miss my father. It was a sweet and loving tribute. I will definitely try the bars!

  11. Monica 05.09.2012

    Too funny, I had a very similar experience this morning, except I was running towards the grandpa. He smiled and waved, which totally made my morning, because most people are so unfriendly at 6 am on the trail! Loved this tribute to your grandpa. Oh, and the recipe looks great too! :)

  12. I love this post! My grandpa also always sliced up bananas and had them in milk (with a little sugar) and always had the butterscotch hard candies in a bowl. He also is the reason I love everything country – music, cowboy boots, gardening… This post reminds me how much I miss him.

  13. kelly 05.09.2012

    Lovely post and I will be making these!

  14. I love this recipe, as much for the ingredients as for the story behind it. Lovely photos of you with your grandpap.

  15. Jenn 05.09.2012

    This made me tear up. I hold my grandpa incredibly close to my heart, this was such a nice tribute to yours.

  16. Katie 05.09.2012

    This post made me tear up! My grandpa eats butterscotch candies and wears a hat like that, too. What I remember most about him was that, as serious as he may have looked to anyone else, he always loved to make his grandchildren laugh. When he’d have a picture taken, he’d always say “liver & onions” instead of “cheese” and it’s so hard for me not to smile from ear to ear when I think about that!

    Love this post & can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  17. Kristin 05.09.2012

    Awww, Grandpas are so wonderful. Grandpa always ate the egg whites from my breakfast eggs as I only liked the yolks. He used to say that he didn’t know what an egg with a yolk looked like :) He also always drank Tropical Punch kool-aid; no other flavors. Anytime I see it or drink it it reminds me of him.

  18. Emily 05.09.2012

    I absolutely loved this post. So sweet — sent me on a trip down memory lane too! And these bars look scrumptious. Thank you for sharing :)

  19. Lindsey 05.09.2012

    Oh, I am definitely making these bars soon! YUM!

  20. Such a sweet post! And these bars look incredible!! YUMMM

  21. Lori 05.09.2012

    Well that post made me cry, thanks for THAT. Beautiful words and memories of your grandpa. I had two very special grandpas, both now gone. How lucky we are to have such great memories of them, and to know that they are always with us.

  22. Kel 05.09.2012

    Yum! And a sweet note tribute to your grandpa. I am making these soon!

  23. Trisha 05.09.2012

    What a lovely post. I definitely had a few tears. Grandparents are a treasure. I lost my last remaining grandparent in November, my grandma with whom I was closest. I have so many fond memories with both her and my grandpa, who too, ALWAYS wore a hat (or a cap, as he called it). He had a sweet, quiet laugh, spoke few words, but always had the kindest (slightly mischevious) smile. Thanks for sharing, I might sob for a bit now too. ;)

  24. What a sweet post! And a great recipe to boot!

  25. Abby 05.09.2012

    Aww this post made me tear up a bit, as my Grandpa passed away last Christmas. (I also never met my dad’s dad as he died before I was born.) One of my favorite memories was when he wore a big hoop clip on earring to a family gathering, pretending he got it pierced and was trying to be more hip.

  26. MH 05.09.2012

    My “Papa” had a chair (a recliner) in the corner and a tin of after dinner mints next to it. What is it with grandpas and their chairs and their candies?

  27. Emily 05.09.2012

    thanks for such a sweet post! I had to deal with the loss of 2 of my grandparents within the last year, so that was pretty hard. It’s important to remember all the happy memories!!

  28. Lauren 05.09.2012

    I love when certain foods stir up personal memories or have such deeper meaning. I will forever think of my grammy when I eat strawberry pie. :) This is such a sweet post and those bars look outstanding! Cheers to your grandpa!

  29. Whit 05.09.2012

    This was a very sweet post and it definitely made me cry.

    During the summer, my grandpa always eats fresh green onions from his garden with his dinners. He keeps them in a cup right next to his plate. Whenever I am slicing green onions for a recipe, that smell reminds me of sitting at their dinner table.

  30. Anna 05.09.2012

    Your brothers look so much like your grandpa!

  31. Kristi 05.09.2012

    these look delicious!
    My grandpa had a farm in Nebraska, we spent every summer there. He used to come in from working in the fields all day sit down & have a few Oreos and a Pepsi, which is my excuse for eating boxes and boxes of Oreos (reminiscing)
    thanks for the grandpa post!

  32. Loved reading through your memories of your grandpa. So sweet :-) Especially playing in the woodshop!

  33. Kel 05.09.2012

    Should there be two listings of salt? I am trying these now – I could not wait!

  34. I so enjoyed this post. It brought tears to my eyes. I recently lost my grandpa (not even two months ago). I miss his smell, the sound of his voice, and the way he used to say my name. I miss his jokes and the fact that he always thought he was right :) I’d give anything to kiss his forehead one more time. Thanks for sharing such sweet memories!

  35. I love this post. Both of my grandpas passed away this year, so this was a little hard to get through. One of my grandpas had his La-Z-Boy chair and went for walks in the mall, and my other grandpa went to Big Boy or McDonald’s every morning for breakfast. I loved their familiar routines :).

  36. Erika 05.09.2012

    This is such a sweet post and it reminds me of my grandpa. He loves caramel candies and is incredibly loyal to those alone :-)

  37. Paula Caitlin 05.09.2012

    Wow…just like countless others, your post brought tears to my eyes also!! It was liking reading a page about my own grandpa!! My grandpa was a candymaker (at heart more then anything, really he was a Fire Chief). He loved his butterscotch too, always had a tin of hard candies of it beside his recliner!! To this day we all still miss his candy soooo much…of course him too!! He was known for his Peanut Brittle, Homemade Ice Cream, and my favourite…his Maple Cream, much like a fudge but definitely isn’t if you’ve ever had it!! A few years ago my dad has taken to making the Maple Cream now, and it’s what each of us look forward to the most at Christmas time as we each get our very own tin!!

    I’m going to have to try your wonderful looking Butterscotch Bars, and I will do so in honour of both your grandpa and mine!! I’ll have to share the recipe for Maple Cream one day soon too!! 8) Between you and Michelle@Brown Eyed Baker I’m going to end up gaining 20 pounds this year I think!! 8-P

  38. Jen C 05.09.2012

    I don’t normally comment on blogs but this one really hit me. I never knew either of my real grandfathers (I had a step-grandfather) because they both died before I was born but reading this has really made me miss my grandmother. I’m feeling the need to go through her recipes and make one her classics now!

  39. C. 05.09.2012

    I love this story, so sweet!

  40. Allison 05.09.2012

    This is SUCH a sweet post! Loved it. Thank you for sharing.

    Isn’t it amazing how food can remind us of people and places? My maternal grandma – apple pie and stuffing. My paternal grandma – lemon drops and sugar cookies. Unfortunately, one of my grandpas died before I was born, and the other died when I was very young. My earliest memory, though, is of my grandpa pushing me in a wheelbarrow through a field on a beautiful, sunny day. :)

  41. Claudia S. 05.09.2012

    Oh After reading this post I miss my grandpa so much! What I miss about him is his smell, Old Spice cologne.
    Yummy recipe!
    Thanks for sharing!

  42. Kim 05.09.2012

    Grandpa’s are the best (well, and grandma’s). Hey, I am going to have some happy students tomorrow. I baked the peanut butter cookies with the Reese’s cup in the middle. Yum!

  43. Rachel 05.09.2012

    Such a great story, it brought tears to my eyes too. My grandfather also loved Butterscotch. He would sing Scottish hymns and silly songs all the time and tell me that he was 111 years old. I always believed him.
    Those bars look delish too! I’m going to make them this weekend.

  44. Molly 05.09.2012

    I love this. My grandpa always had butterscotch candies by his chair too…and now, my dad, who will be 60 on Tuesday (shhh) keeps a stash too. There is something special about grandparents to which nothing can compare. And although the only surviving grandparent I have will be turning 93 years young this June, I can’t help but relish in memories every time I see someone who must be a fabulous grandparent to someone else. Thank you!

  45. Dawn Mather 05.09.2012

    Love the reminising! My Grandpa grilled the bests steaks. The last time I went and stayed with them for a week over the summer (I was 16) and we had steak everynight for supper. It was great. I think of him whenever we eat steak.

  46. MigraineMe 05.09.2012

    What a neat post! It’s crazy how much I associate food and the certain smells of food with certain family members and family traditions!

  47. Dee 05.09.2012

    What wonderful memories

  48. Monte 05.09.2012

    A wise and loving Grandpa, hence a wise and wonderful Granddaughter…its how life works.

  49. Emily 05.09.2012

    What a sweet story! I love butterscotch and can’t wait to make these!

  50. Jacki 05.09.2012

    That “chubby child” had pure bliss written all over her sweet face hugging grandpa.

    I lucked out and remember all 4 of my grandparents very well. My grandpa on my father’s side died in 1998 and the other 3 died in July of 2010, 3 months after my granddaughter was born and all a couple weeks apart from each other.

    My paternal grandfather loved to fish and pick walnuts. I remember several Saturday nights with Lawrence Welk.

    My maternal grandfather was a teaser with a sweet tooth and whenever we went to help on the farm, he always shared his stash with us.

    Miss them all!

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